From its March 2011 introduction, Kraft MiO has expanded beyond the traditional sweetener of adding flavors to plain water. They bulked up the product line-up in 2012 with MiO Energy, characterized by two new flavors (Green Thunder and Black Cherry) containing 60mg of caffeine per serving. At the end of 2012, Kraft MiO revealed that they will be announcing something to supplement their product line-up of liquid flavor enhancers. Turns out that announcement was for Kraft’s MiO Fit, a line extension with electrolytes and B vitamins, and 18 servings in each bottle. The MiO Fit will come in two flavors: Berry Blast and Arctic Grape.
When the MiO Energy launched, it extended the product line-up into the energy drinks spectrum to compete against Red Bull, Monster Energy and the likes. With the MiO Fit, Kraft is serving notice to that they will be going up against Gatorade and Powerade in the sports drinks beverage segment. How will the MiO Fit do relative to its direct and indirect competition? Will its success come at the expense of other MiO products, competitive beverages, or from consumers that do not typically drink these types of beverages?
For the MiO Fit to succeed in the sports drink segment, another beverage manufacturer will be losing, though not necessarily in the same segment. The MiO Fit does not grow the beverage industry, rather it transfers a shopper’s purchase dollars from another segment and/or another beverage manufacturer. Beverages as a category include soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, juices and so much more. Therefore, people that end up buying the MiO Fit could be purchasing it instead of another sports drink, energy drink, or some other liquid refreshment. The only beverage segment that wins will be bottled water, since the MiO Fit must be squeezed into water to take full effect.
In the short term, this certainly will lend extra attention to the sport drinks beverage segment. There may be more discount activity or media promotions from Gatorade and Powerade to deter consumers from buying the MiO Fit. Kraft will also be putting media support behind the MiO Fit to ensure consumers know there is a legitimate third sports drink option out there on the market. For example, Kraft has invested significant funding to feature the MiO during this year’s Superbowl (read more here). This has all the signs that some level of price or promotional activity may occur very soon to fight for your attention and your wallet dollars. Certainly the winners here will be the consumers that drink sports drinks.
It is also important to note that the MiO Fit gives sports drinks another location in the grocery store to connect with consumers. In addition to being stocked in the beverage aisles like Gatorade and Powerade, the MiO may be a product that can make it to the checkout counter. With its small size and no need to be kept cold, it can very well make it closer to the last point of purchase and gain some impulse purchase dollars. Meanwhile, the closest Gatorade or Powerade will get is the end of the checkout line beside candy, gum, and magazines since it has a dedicated cooler space.
Kraft’s deeper drive into beverages has certainly added many options to the marketplace. Consumers that find plain water boring can now squeeze in some flavoring. And when they find this flavoring boring, they can change it up for some MiO Energy or MiO Fit. It’s very clear Kraft MiO is still very new to the market, and that there are many more extension opportunities. They have not even expanded to offer their existing flavors in larger or smaller serving sizes. And there are still other beverage segments where a MiO may change the landscape (ie tea or juices). So while Kraft introduced the MiO in 2011, there has already been extensions in 2012 and 2013. Let’s keep an eye on what they may do during the year, and what they plan on launching come 2014.